back to article After delay due to xz, Ubuntu 24.04 'Noble Numbat' belatedly hits beta

The beta version of this year's Ubuntu LTS release is out, complete with a new, and automatable, installation program. The Extended installation gives you the usual suite of apps… and a few more are now in snap format. The Extended installation gives you the usual suite of apps… and a few more are now in snap format (click to …

  1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

    More snaps, more difficult fixed network configuration, retiring old hardware.

    I think my 'get off Ubuntu' switch has finally been pushed hard-over. I don't think I will be going beyond 22.04, or even 20.04 which I'm running on some of my systems with Nvidia graphics hardware. This is quite a wrench, as I've been using Ubuntu as my goto distro. for nigh on 20 years.

    I'm already replacing Ubuntu on some of my small service systems. I know that it may well suffer the same Nvidia problems, but several of them have already transitioned to Devuan, and although this may not be the eventual distro, I've been using it for a while so I am sufficiently familiar to have started the first steps of the move.

    Now, back to that Slackware test system.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

      [Author here]

      > as I've been using Ubuntu as my goto distro. for nigh on 20 years.

      Same, TBH.

      MX Linux is looking like the best of the bunch, currently, and is streets ahead of Devuan. Drivers can remain problematic, though.

      1. Telman
        Happy

        Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

        Just took an old desktop(server) and installed latest version of MX Linux. Starting to love it. Still getting used to Xfce, as the last linux I used was Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but the more I use it, the more I like it SSD and RAM upgrade has it running like a champ. Had a few teething problems, but nothing big. I think this is my goto for now. :)

    2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

      Actually, Netplan is the first change to the networking configuration that has made my life easier rather than harder. And that's from someone who's been installing and using linux - almost always via the CLI, not the Desktop - for 20 years now, and generally hates change. Funky stuff like bridges, failover, wireless, all from the one config file. But otherwise I agree.

    3. Killdolly

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

      Too top-heavy and bloated, as always. Too much bling as in Fedora also. Running Debian Trixie (Asahi) on M1/M2 Minis with XFCE. No complaints.

    4. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

      "Now, back to that Slackware test system."

      I'd never discourage anyone from investigating Slackware, but...

      Just wondering why not Debian (as the upstream-sort-of of Ubuntu)? Make use of existing knowledge and all?

      1. ldo

        Re: Just wondering why not Debian

        Debian Stable is boring and reliable and rock-solid. Just what you want for servers, not so much fun on the desktop.

        If you want a desktop version, try Debian Testing or Unstable. Now there’s one way to keep your wits about you. ;)

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

        As one of the reasons why I want to move away from Ubuntu is Systemd. Debian will probably never be the OS I start switching to, which is why I have Devuan (effectively Debian without Systemd) as the initial first step.

        I'm also a little uncertain of switching to any downstream distro from Ubuntu, which is why I'm not looking at Mint et. al. MX Linux is not one I had considered, but maybe I should. The only problem I have with this is time, and wanting to do as much testing on my limited physical hardware as I can. But for a desktop replacement, I am able to put it in a VM I guess.

        I currently have experiments going on in Slackware and FreeBSD for different purposes. My always-on low power system is running Devuan Daedalus, and seems to be doing fine.

    5. GrahamRJ

      Re: Oh, Ubuntu. Where did it go wrong!

      I've been using XUbuntu for years (since 14.04), because I couldn't rely on Ubuntu to play nicely with VMs. VMware, Xen and VirtualBox all had significant issues unless you didn't want a desktop, which of course makes it less useful for software development. It's been rock-solid all along the line, doesn't bake in too much crud that I don't need, and basically just works.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Minimal installation...

    5.6GB???

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Minimal installation...

      [Author here]

      > 5.6GB???

      Hey, it's smaller than Windows 11! It takes, oh, only about 1/4 of the space...

      1. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: Minimal installation...

        This is true, but "Hey, at least it's not worse" isn't the most compelling argument against something.

        I wouldn't mind it using a lot of space - if you can even call 5.6G a lot of space these days when even the cheapest of machines come with 256G SSDs in them - if I understood what the hell it was using all that space for. I'll trade space for features, or stability, or speed or... well, basically anything really, since I have a lot of space to spare but I cannot for the life of me work out what I'm actually buying with all the space I'm spending.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Minimal installation...

          I have to admit that I sometimes wonder how much of the code that a distribution installs is actually required *for me*... I mean, if the installer doesn't find e.g. an nvidia card, does it still install all the nvidia drivers? And so on...

          Perhaps I should listen for Gentoo calling me?

          1. theOtherJT Silver badge

            Re: Minimal installation...

            You know, I got somewhat curious so I decided to do a little experiment.

            For entirely different reasons I found myself needing an Ubuntu machine that booted straight to a browser window - basically for digital signage, but we're going with Ubuntu as the base for a bunch of tedious policy reasons that I won't get into here. Firefox, as downloaded from their own website in deb form, and then installed onto a base version of Ubuntu server with just enough xorg on it that it's possible to target a single GUI application directly at the one running X session, comes out at just about 330M installed. In fact, from apt we see:

            Need to get 80.2 MB of archives.

            After this operation, 327 MB of additional disk space will be used.

            A quick check of how big Firefox is running on my machine as a snap right now

            du -sh /snap/firefox/current/

            709M /snap/firefox/current/

            Further inspection shows 222M of /snap/firefox/current/usr/share/hunspell which is a spellchecking library that's been included as part of the Firefox snap. I actually already have that installed on my machine in /usr/share/hunspell where it's taking up a grand total of 800K because I have only the single dictionary installed, seeing as I only really speak English. The Firefox snap has decided to include 138 others just in case I need them.

            I'm sure that Firefox is far from the only example of this sort of thing so I don't want anyone to take this as me explicitly calling out Mozilla, but this pretty much encapsulates my problem with snap packages. I can't get rid of those dictionaries. They're utterly useless to me, but because they're pushed in as part of a larger package I'm stuck with them and even the one dictionary I do use is a useless duplication of one that's already in my systems /usr/share. 221M of wasted space right there.

            Sure, the snap itself is a squashfs so it doesn't take up all that space on disk when it's not running, but in a way that's worse because now it has to waste cpu and memory duplicating things I don't need as well as disk space.

            Every thing that's packaged in this way is going to be duplicating libraries and other shared-only-now-they-arent-shared type files to one extent or another. That sort of thing seriously adds up over time.

            1. ianbetteridge

              Re: Minimal installation...

              Some good digging there, thank you! I'm not sure whether this is just bad packaging on Mozilla's part, or an inevitable trade off from using a sandboxed system like Snap (or Flatpak?) – I'm sure someone can enlighten me ;)

              If it's the former then shame on Mozilla. If it's the latter, though… well, I'll take that trade-off. My Linux machine isn't exactly short of storage, thanks to a 2Tb SSD upgrade.

          2. AdamWill

            Re: Minimal installation...

            Well, see, it gets hard.

            What if you install an NVIDIA card? What if you move your install to a system with an NVIDIA card? People hate it when we (distros, that is - I work on Fedora, but it's all the same) make installs not relocatable, but they also hate "bloat". So what's a distro to do?

            There are a lot of tradeoffs like this. Quite a lot of space in modern distros is used by i18n-related stuff - fonts for displaying text in every script in the world, input methods for CJK languages, translations. You could 'save' a lot of space by making it impossible to read or type anything but ASCII US English. Is that "bloat" to an American who never reads anything but English? Maybe. Should we do that? Probably not. (Of course, these days these 'emoji' things are quite popular too).

            1. VicMortimer Silver badge

              Re: Minimal installation...

              So, years ago, it was easy to pick what you wanted at install time. Distros decided to make installation 'simple' and dumped all of that configurability. THAT was a bad thing.

              Just give us the option to go through the full process and leave out bloat. A simple radio button for "Let me pick packages" like we used to be able to do. Because yes, for lots of installations the NVIDIA drivers ARE bloat, the stuff for displaying every language in the world IS bloat, lots of stuff is there that we don't want on machines that don't have a need for non-Roman alphabets, don't have a need for all kinds of things would be a great idea. Feel free to put a warning box, but understand that lots of us are picky.

              I will NEVER be inputting CJK languages. If it's not English or French, I can't read it. I don't really care about emojis, 99% of the time they're too small for me to figure out what they are, and I don't know what all those hieroglyphics mean anyway. I'm fine with ASCII smilies.

              (And if we can turn off the installation of Wayland and systemd, even better.)

              1. navarac Silver badge

                Re: Minimal installation...

                I understand that the coming Linux Mint 22 will dump languages that are not selected at the end of the install. So it cannot be difficult.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Minimal installation...

              All of those items are valid. A choice not to install them is also valid. A traditional install can provide options to prune unnecessary packages or features.

            3. theOtherJT Silver badge

              Re: Minimal installation...

              Surely you do what you always used to do and bring it up in 80 column text mode? The useful improvement would be to throw a "Hey, you took out the GPU I was using! Either put it back or fetch me a driver for the new one!" type message, which would be a very simple thing to do these days seeing as basically all drivers are sitting around in software repositories one way or another, and not a massive deal like it was in the 90s when we used to have to go and download megabytes of source over shoddy dial up lines and then spend an hour compiling the blasted things.

              As to "make it impossible to read anything that's not English" Well... yes? I mean, I already can't read anything that's not in English because I'm an ignorant Brit who gets by on English, a few hundred words of French and a few dozen words of German - just enough for me to not get lost in either country when I drive through them to visit friends who live there. It feels like it shouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility for these things to be apt/yum-able packages and if I don't need them I could just chose not to install them, but the very idea of an OS "Install" seems to have gone away in favour of "DD this image of a running system onto the device of your choosing - just so long as it's not a complicated device of any kind." which is kinda... irritating.

              I get that this makes things simpler for people to use Linux on their Laptops etc, but lets be real - basically no one does that* - or at least those of us who do aren't bothered by having to read and select things from the install options when we do it.

              Maybe I'm being unfair. Like I said - it's five or six gig and I've got five or six gig to spare and when I really don't have that I'll go find myself a Debian netinst image and start from there, but once again it feels like the pendulum of "simple" vs "useful" has swung too far toward simple in most distros.

              *he says, from a laptop that's running Ubuntu 20.04 - but even that I installed by hand starting with the server distro and then bootstrapped my way up to a GUI so I could use a disk partitioning and encryption scheme that the desktop installer didn't seem to want me doing

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                Re: Minimal installation...

                As you say... (writing this from a laptop, of course!) grabbing everything and installing everything just in case seems, to this old engineer who started writing code when memory was counted in tens of k (if you were rich), just... wasteful.

        2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Minimal installation...

          > "Hey, at least it's not worse" isn't the most compelling argument against something.

          It wasn't meant to be. The general effect I was aiming for is "damning with faint praise".

          I feel that there must be a happy medium here, somewhere, somehow, but we have all lost sight of it in the clouds of FUD.

  3. Howard Sway Silver badge

    These are decade-old machines now, and we suspect Canonical isn't testing against anything that old

    This seems short sighted to me - one of the main benefits of Ubuntu up til now has been its ability to give machines this old a new lease of life as a perfectly useable and cheap alternative to whatever bloated specs would be needed to replace an ailing Windows box. Also slightly sad to see it's now too big for a dvd - I have rescued a few old machines for friends by popping round with a 20.04 dvd and a cheapo reconditoned hard drive. One said it was like getting a brand new computer for a tenner!

    1. ianbetteridge

      Re: These are decade-old machines now

      Of course, you can still install 20.04 if you want – it's an LTS release, so it's got another year or so of security releases (and up to 2030 iirc if you sign your friends up for the free personal Ubuntu Pro thingy).

      At that point their hardware will be 20 years old, so probably time for a replacement :)

  4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    <Starts reading>

    Oh, that looks interesting. Maybe I should think about going back to Ubuntu from Linux Mint.

    <Reaches "snap">

    Fuck off.

    1. Mike007 Bronze badge

      Does Ubuntu still have that damn single tasking GUI that is utterly useless for someone who wants to switch between multiple windows?

      I consider mint to be the fixed version of Ubuntu.

  5. Crypto Monad Silver badge

    "it's sad to see them hit the end of their useful lives"

    22.04 LTS is still good to 2027 - plus another 5 years if you take ESM / Ubuntu Pro (which is free for personal use for up to 5 machines).

    So no need to throw them out just yet.

    1. Mike_R
      Windows

      Re: "it's sad to see them hit the end of their useful lives"

      And 20.04 with ESM is supported to 2030

      as my grandmother used to say "...I should live so long." see icon --->

      1. VicMortimer Silver badge

        Re: "it's sad to see them hit the end of their useful lives"

        Hmmm. Maybe I won't 'upgrade' for a while.

  6. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Nobbly Numbnuts

    Maybe it's just me but that's what flits through my mind whenever I see references to it.

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